A key and often (unfortunately) over-looked portion of an employee-powered innovation program is communication of what’s really going on behind the scenes.
The thoughts, experiences, and feedback of your employees can prove to be an endless source of improvements for your operations. But getting ideas from those employees isn’t where these initiatives end. You now have the responsibility to keep those employees informed of what’s going on with their ideas or face the consequences.
Why Communication is Crucial
- When your employees are sharing their ideas, they above-all want to see progress and maybe their idea brought to life.
- Without updates or feedback, their excitement or engagement in the opportunities you’re providing them will dwindle too. Why share your ideas if you never hear anything back?
- Keeping them informed not only keeps them in the loop, but also provides them with the chance to provide further feedback (now and for future initiatives), or get involved in the development, testing, or launch phases of their ideas as well.
What You should be Sharing
- Feedback on the ideas you’ve received, both through mass-communications and individually for high-potential ideas
- Ideas that have the potential for further testing or development, or are currently moving forward towards development
- Individuals, teams, or departments working on ideas and a potential timeframe for development
- Current status of or progress made so far on ideas in development
- Ideas that have been implemented, or will be entering the testing or launch stages
How to provide Updates
- Email updates should be scheduled and regular, and sent to all employees, both those who have submitted ideas and those who haven’t
- Team meetings can be both casual and public, and an opportunity to personally recognize those who have shared ideas
- Memos can be posted online or offline, dedicated strictly to idea updates or in additional to other news
- Bulletin Boards are passive, but an easy way to recognize employees and the ideas they’ve shared publicly
Even if you don’t have an employee-driven innovation program, updates on the inner-workings and developments inside your organization can be powerful way to improve innovation project management, employee engagement and transparency. Employees that stay in-the-know share their ideas more often and are more likely to go above and beyond in their responsibilities to help move the organization forward.